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The FReeper Foxhole Remembers The Papua Campaign (7/1942-1/1943) - Nov. 30th, 2003 ^

Posted on 11/30/2003 12:00:39 AM PST by SAMWolf


Keep our Troops forever in Your care

Give them victory over the enemy...

Grant them a safe and swift return...

Bless those who mourn the lost.

FReepers from the Foxhole join in prayer
for all those serving their country at this time.

...................................................................................... ...........................................

U.S. Military History, Current Events and Veterans Issues

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23 July 1942-23 January 1943

On 7 December 1941, Japan turned its war on the Asian mainland eastward into the Pacific. Simultaneous attacks on Pearl Harbor, the Philippines, the Malayan peninsula, and other places surprised Allied governments and exposed serious weaknesses in Allied dispositions in the Pacific. At the outbreak of war in Europe in September 1939, Australia had sent most of its ground units to the British Commonwealth Forces in the Middle East. During the next two years the U.S. Pacific Fleet sent one-quarter of its ships to the Atlantic, and the U.S. Army continued mobilizing, although it would not be ready for an offensive mission until late 1942. Hastily gathering scarce units, the Allies tried to halt the Japanese at the Malay Barrier, the mountainous chain of islands stretching from Malaya through the Netherlands East Indies to New Guinea. But the pace and extent of Japanese conquests soon overran these preparations. The fall of Singapore on 15 February 1942 and the bombing of the Australian city of Darwin four days later shattered the Malay Barrier. Australia and New Zealand lay virtually undefended.

Strategic Setting

The arrival in Australia on 17 March of General Douglas MacArthur, ordered from the Philippines by President Franklin D. Roosevelt, signaled the start of a new phase in the defense of the Pacific. Instead of supplying and supporting its Allies, the United States would commit its own troops to the effort to halt the Japanese. A major area command, Southwest Pacific Area (SWPA), was created in April with General MacArthur commanding. An international command, SWPA had separate land, air, and naval forces, with commanders drawn from the two major contributing nations: Australian General Sir Thomas A. Blamey for Allied Land Forces, American Lt. Gen. George H. Brett for Allied Air Forces, and American Vice Adm. Herbert F. Leary for Allied Naval Forces. Allied Land Forces would consist of two Australian and two American divisions. Recalled from the Middle East, the 7th Australian Infantry Division arrived home at the end of March; the 6th Australian Infantry Division, the next month. Most of the U.S. 41st Infantry Division arrived in Australia in early April. The U.S. 32d Infantry Division, originally slated for Northern Ireland, received new orders to join SWPA in mid-May with the rest of the 41st Division. Allied Air Forces would eventually consist of eight aircraft groups. Allied Naval Forces began with twenty-one surface warships and thirty-one submarines and could expect augmentation by American carrier task forces. Resupply of the Southwest Pacific Area would come from Hawaii through a line of island bases secured in February: Palmyra, Christmas Island, Canton Island, Bora Bora, Samoa, and the Fiji Islands.

Japanese Dead near Buna Mission, 3 January.

Working with the Australian Chiefs of Staff, General MacArthur prepared a joint estimate of the situation. The Allies agreed that the Japanese advance would continue and that it would soon threaten the Australian supply line as well as the island nation itself. As General MacArthur viewed the situation, the best way to defend Australia was to meet the Japanese on New Guinea, and the way into New Guinea lay through Port Moresby, a harbor on the southeast Papuan coast lightly garrisoned by Australians. Accordingly, in early April MacArthur directed the reinforcement of Port Moresby.

While the Allies rushed to strengthen Port Moresby, the Japanese acted on their own strategic assessment. They also considered Port Moresby the key to Australia. But before approaching the port city, the Japanese moved to finish a naval mission begun earlier. The Imperial Japanese Navy saw its strike against Pearl Harbor as only half of a two-part strategy. To secure exploitation of Burma, Malaya, and the Indies, the Japanese had to neutralize the British Eastern Fleet. For that purpose, a large Japanese naval task force left the southwest Pacific for the Indian Ocean in April. The Japanese succeeded in disabling the British Eastern Fleet, but in doing so they also gave SWPA an extra month to reinforce Port Moresby.

General Blamey tours the battle area with General Eichelberger (left). (DA photograph)

By 4 May, when a Japanese landing force embarked at Rabaul for Port Moresby, Allied air an) naval forces had grown to decisive strength. The result for the Japanese was a major setback. As enemy troopships and an escorting carrier task force approached the eastern end of New Guinea, they were met by two American carrier task forces. In the ensuing Battle of the Coral Sea, the Japanese Navy lost so many ships that the landing force had to return to Rabaul. Though they lost more ships than the Japanese, the Allies won a strategic victory in the Coral Sea: the enemy had to reschedule its Port Moresby landing for July.

The Japanese had barely counted their losses in the Coral Sea when they met a much more costly defeat. In an effort to take Midway Island and the Aleutians, the Imperial Japanese Navy put together a huge task force centered on four fast carriers. A unique message-interception effort code-named MAGIC enabled the Allies to learn of the enemy move toward Midway, and three American carriers were sent to intercept. In the sea-air battle that followed on 4 June, the Japanese lost all four of their carriers and hundreds of aircraft and pilots. The stunning defeat at Midway was more than a temporary setback. The Japanese Navy never replaced its carrier losses, and as a result its land operations thereafter suffered from a chronic shortage of naval and air support.

But two defeats in rapid succession did not end the threat to Australia. On 22 July a Japanese landing force under Maj. Gen. Tomitaro Horii slipped ashore at Basabua and made its way to Buna on the northeast coast of New Guinea. The landing itself came as a shock to SWPA headquarters, then considering the very same move. Even more disquieting was the discovery that the enemy had landed without air cover.


Anxious to take advantage of the victory of Midway, Allied staffs drew up an operations plan. Called the 2 July Directive, the plan laid down three tasks: 1. seizure and occupation of the Santa Cruz Islands, Tulagi, and adjacent areas; 2. seizure and occupation of the remainder of the Solomon Islands, Lae, Salamaua, and the northeast coast of New Guinea; and 3. seizure and occupation of Rabaul and adjacent positions in the New Guinea-New Ireland area. The U.S. Navy's South Pacific Area commander assumed the first mission; General MacArthur took up the latter two tasks. To support the Navy in the first task and to execute its own two tasks, SWPA created new commands, moved units closer to target areas, and continued airfield construction and reinforcement, especially at Port Moresby and at Milne Bay on the eastern tip of New Guinea. The U.S. 32d and 41st Infantry Divisions began jungle training, organized in a new corps under the command of Maj. Gen. Robert L. Eichelberger.

A Fox Hole on Giruwa Beach.
Men of the 127th Infantry holding a position reached on 20 January.

Short of aircraft carriers after Midway, the Japanese decided to attack Port Moresby by an overland advance from Buna instead of around Milne Bay by sea. This plan dictated a push through some of the most forbidding terrain in the world. The Papuan peninsula of eastern New Guinea is dominated by the Owen Stanley Mountains, a saw-toothed jungle range reaching a height of 13,000 feet. High temperatures and humidity near the coasts contrast with biting cold above 5,000 feet. Rainfall is typically torrential and can amount to as much as 10 inches per day during the rainy season. Tangled growth requires a machete to cut through it. Knife-edged kunai grass up to 7 feet high, reeking swamps full of leeches and malarial mosquitoes, and a slippery ground surface under dripping vegetation add to the formidable obstacle course.

For the advance out of Buna the Japanese assembled a force of about 1,800 men augmented by 1,300 laborers from Rabaul and Formosa and 52 horses. This force proposed to cross Papua through the village of Kokoda, some 50 miles from Buna and over 100 miles from Port Moresby. Next to the village lay a facility highly valued by both sides: an airfield. Quickly moving inland, the Japanese met their first opposition late in the afternoon of 22 July. During the next two weeks, General Horii's troops defeated several Australian and Papuan units and took over the entire Kokoda-Buna Trail. When Horii received reinforcements on 18 August, he headed a well-supplied force of 8,OOO Imperial Japanese Army troops and 3,450 naval troops.

Lt. Gen. Robert L. Eichelberger Commanding General, I Corps, United States Army

By mid-August the two adversaries were inadvertently helping each other by relying on poor intelligence assessments. Caught off-guard by U.S. Marine landings in the Solomons, General Horii had to spread his resources over two fronts, Guadalcanal and Buna. But the Allies underestimated the Japanese determination to build up a large force at Buna and push overland to Port Moresby. Brig. Gen. Charles A. Willoughby, MacArthur's intelligence chief, repeatedly discounted an enemy attack through the mountains because of the difficult terrain and climate. As a result, the Allies continued reinforcing small units on the trail, and the enemy continued overrunning them.

With the Japanese well established at Buna and Kokoda, SWPA reorganized to counterattack on two fronts: along the Kokoda Trail and 200 miles east at Milne Bay. Three Australian brigades with American reinforcements strengthened the two fronts. At Milne Bay the Allies assembled a force of some 7,500 troops, including three companies of U.S. engineers and a battery of U.S. airborne antiaircraft artillery. Named Milne Force, this two-brigade concentration took positions around two Allied airfields. On the night of 25-26 August the Japanese landed 1,500 men six miles east of the airfields. Spearheaded by two light tanks, the Japanese mounted night assaults on the 26th and 27th, and reached Airstrip No. 3. Milne Force stiffened its line and then pushed the enemy into a general retreat. On 4 September the Japanese called in the Navy for evacuation. In this first Allied ground victory—and first significant American action in Papua—Milne Force killed 600 of the enemy, while losing 322 dead and 200 wounded.

On the Way to Buna: The Inland Route. Men of M Company, 128th Infantry, on the trail between Dobodura and Buna.

Along the Kokoda Trail the Allies found a different situation. Instead of continuing their drive toward the certain capture of Port Moresby, the Japanese stopped at the village of Ioribaiwa, thirty miles short of their objective. Surprised at the sudden halt, the Allies soon learned that the Japanese agreed with their own strategic view: that success on New Guinea was directly related to success on Guadalcanal. The Japanese drive against the U.S. Marine beachhead in the Solomons had been repulsed, and on 18 September General Horii received orders to withdraw to Buna for a possible reinforcement of the Imperial Japanese Army forces on Guadalcanal. Once again the enemy had given the Allies time to regroup.

General MacArthur took advantage of the victory at Milne Bay and the enemy withdrawal from the Kokoda Trail to draw up a comprehensive plan to clear New Guinea of the enemy. SWPA's 1 October plan called for a series of sweeps and envelopments along three axes of advance that would position Allied forces for an attack on Buna in mid-November. On the first axis, the 7th Australian Infantry Division would move up the main trail from Port Moresby, cross the Owen Stanley Range through Kokoda, and occupy Wairopi, only twenty-five miles from Buna. On the second axis, the American 2d Battalion of the 126th Infantry, setting out from Port Moresby, would turn inland at Kapa Kapa and move through the mountains to Jaure on a track parallel to, but thirty miles southeast of, the Australians. On the third axis, the 18th Australian Infantry Brigade, fresh from victory at Milne Bay, would sweep the north coast of the island and meet the U.S. 128th Infantry, airlifted from Port Moresby, at Wanigela. The two units would then cross Cape Nelson and stage at Embogo for the assault on enemy lines less than ten miles away.

The Old Strip, Buna, Showing Japanese Fortifications.

The 1 October plan was marked by the innovation which would characterize MacArthur's leadership throughout the Pacific War: resupply by air. Once units entered the jungled mountains, resupply became a major problem. The Australian practice of relying on the strong backs of New Guineans did not solve the problem, since the bearers usually deserted when they suspected enemy presence. The Allies settled on the airdrop. Expanding its range as fast as new airfields could be constructed, the Fifth Air Force proved invaluable in overcoming the obstacles of sea distance and rugged terrain. Crates of food and supplies were pushed out the hatches of low-flying C - 7s over breaks in the jungle ceiling. Though not perfect—hungry, diseased troops sometimes saw crates of food, medicine, and ammunition fall down mountainsides just out of reach—the airdrops continued and improved as aircrews gained experience.

An innovation in resupply by sea also helped. Despite Japanese command of the seas in the Solomons-New Guinea area—the U.S. Navy had withdrawn from the area in late October after losing an aircraft carrier and seeing another badly damaged—the Allies were asked to take advantage of the shallow coastal waters of New Guinea. In their advance from Milne Bay the Allies moved troops and supplies by fishing boats, tuggers, rowboats, and even outrigger canoes.

KEYWORDS: anzac; army; freeperfoxhole; generaleichelberger; generalsirblamey; macarthur; pacific; papua; veterans; wwii
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The 7th Australian Infantry Division initiated the 1 October plan by attacking toward Kokoda. At three places Japanese rearguard units set up blocking positions along the trail, and at all three the Australians, supported by Fifth Air Force bombing and strafing runs, enveloped and overran the enemy. On 2 November Kokoda and its airfield were back in Allied hands, and on the 13th the 7th moved fifteen miles ahead to Wairopi, only twenty-seven miles from the Buna perimeter. Japanese troops scattered northward toward Sanananda, where they set up a coastal strongpoint the Allies would have to attack later. But they were off the Kokoda Trail.

"Jungle Trail" by Franklin Boggs. Thick jungles of the Southwest Pacific Area made resupply an arduous process. (Army Art Collection)

The airlift of units to and along the northeast coastal axis went smoothly. In the first week of October an Australian battalion flew to Wanigela on the east side of Cape Nelson, and two weeks later the 128th Infantry flew from Port Moresby to Wanigela. Since these units stood vulnerable to attack from enemy-held islands to the north, SWPA directed an assault on Goodenough Island, closest to New Guinea, by another Australian battalion from Milne Bay. After a firelight with a small enemy force preparing to leave, the battalion secured the island.

The Allied ground advances across Cape Nelson and up the Kapa Kapa-Jaure axis proved severe trials of endurance. Moving across the base of Cape Nelson, the 3d Battalion of the 128th Infantry soon found itself floundering through the knee-deep mud of a malarial swamp. The unit abandoned its planned route and made directly for the coast. When the battalion reached its objective of Pongani by sea on 28 October, many of its men were suffering from malaria and other fevers.

General Sir Thomas Blamey with Lieutenant General Robert L. Eichelberger, leader of the U.S. ground troops in New Guinea, standing in front of a captured Japanese pillbox during the fight for Papua.

In a twelve-day march from Kapa Kapa to Jaure the men of the 2d Battalion of the 126th Infantry struggled against the worst conditions New Guinea could offer. The heat, the sharp kunai grass, the leeches and fever-bearing insects, and the slippery trail broke down discipline, and the troops discarded large amounts of equipment to lighten their loads. The ration—Australian bully beef, rice, and tea—made some sick, and diarrhea and dysentery claimed many. Five days of steady rain from 15 October made heating food and boiling water impossible and forced the men to wade through neck-deep water when crossing streams. At higher elevations the battalion found razor-backed ridges so steep that the men had to cling to vines to maintain progress. One group stumbled and slid 2,O00 feet downhill in forty minutes; it took eight hours to recover the distance. The terrain even forced a change of leaders. The battalion commander suffered a heart attack on the trail and was evacuated to Port Moresby. On 25 October the lead company reached Jaure, its troops starving and sickly, their clothing in tatters, and their motivation to meet the Japanese in dire need of restoration.

American and Australian casualties, with Papuan litter bearers. (DA photograph)

On hearing of the condition of the 2d Battalion after its crossing of the Owen Stanleys, the 32d Division commander, Maj. Gen. Edwin F. Harding, was determined not to allow any of his other battalions to become so debilitated by the terrain of New Guinea. He requested that the rest of his troops be airlifted to the north slope of the mountains; Blamey and MacArthur quickly approved. In an intelligence gift to the Allies, a missionary had come forward with news of an airfield near Fasari, a village about forty-two miles south of Pongani. Beginning 8 November the 126th Infantry flew to Fasari and Pongani, and then moved inland to Bofu, fourteen miles from the Buna perimeter. At the same time, the 128th Infantry moved up the coast from Pongani to Embogo, only seven miles from the enemy. Meanwhile on the Kokoda Trail, the 7th Australian Infantry Division pushed the enemy down the mountains toward the coast. The Allies were trapping the Japanese against the sea.

Retreating enemy forces set up a beachhead defense stretching some sixteen miles along the coast and seven miles inland. The Japanese held several important locations within their perimeter: Gona Village, the west anchor of the enemy beachhead; Sanananda Point in the center; Duropa Plantation, the eastern anchor of the beachhead; Buna Village; Buna Mission, the prewar Australian administrative center; and two airfields. Also inside the perimeter lay more swamps and streams than appeared on Allied maps and more enemy troops than SWPA estimated. In a major intelligence blunder, Allied staffs told frontline commanders that they faced no more than 1,500 to 2,000 enemy and could expect the Japanese to surrender about 1 December. In fact, some 6,500 enemy held the beachhead.

Coconut log bunker with fire trench entrance in the Buna Village area.(DA photograph)

SWPA planned a straight-ahead assault on Buna-Sanananda across a front of some twenty miles. The Girua River divided the area of operations into two roughly equal parts, with Maj. Gen. George A. Vasey's 7th Australian Infantry Division on the left, or west, and Harding's U.S. 32d Division on the right. Over General Harding's objection, the U.S.126th Infantry reinforced the Australian 7th. Since the 32d Division had only two regiments instead of three when the assault began, the transfer of the 126th meant a 50 percent loss of fighting capacity. Harding could send only one regiment, the U.S. 128th, against Buna, and he would have no division reserve.

The attack began the morning of 16 November on both sides of the Girua. On the left, the 7th Australian Infantry Division met no enemy opposition the first two days but found other problems nearly as serious. The Australians soon outran their supply line and had to go on short rations; heat exhaustion and the myriad fevers of New Guinea steadily reduced troop strength. When the first shots were exchanged on the 18th, the troops found that every approach avoiding the swamps and streams brought them into enemy machine-gun-fire lanes. Despite this formidable defense, and without artillery support, the Australians pushed ahead. In three days of fighting they lost 204 dead and wounded, and they were still in no position to take Gona. Two days later, after brief air and artillery preparations, troops of the 7th reached the innermost defenses of Gona but were quickly pushed back. On the division's right a separate thrust at Sanananda fell short, though troops managed to set a roadblock behind the enemy.

1 posted on 11/30/2003 12:00:39 AM PST by SAMWolf
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To: snippy_about_it; PhilDragoo; Johnny Gage; Victoria Delsoul; Darksheare; Valin; bentfeather; radu; ..
In the American sector even more trouble developed. Hoping to use the coastal waters on its right to relieve problems of supply and troop exhaustion, the 32d Division loaded its ammunition, rations, radios, and heavy weapons on luggers. After questionable planning, the heavily laden boats set out with no air cover. Japanese Zeroes soon spotted the boats and in strafing attacks sank all but one. Now the 128th had to push on without prospect of resupply, and on the 19th took its first fire from nearly invisible defensive positions. Two days later Fifth Air Force planes twice bombed the 128th Infantry troops, killing ten and wounding fourteen. Despite these setbacks, the 32d Division mounted several local and three major attacks against Japanese positions. The return of the 2d Battalion of the 126th Infantry to American control on 23 November raised hopes of success, but the 32d Division failed to dislodge the enemy.

The November attacks revealed with painful clarity a Japanese strength: tenacity in defense. This strength reflected both a selfless fanaticism in support of imperial expansion and a mastery of field engineering. The Japanese simply made better use of the local terrain. Aware of the high water table of New Guinea coastal areas, the Americans relied on the fact that the enemy could not construct below-ground defenses. The Japanese proved the fallacy of Allied thinking by cutting trees and raising berms above ground, then concealing strongpoints with kunai grass and tying them together with interlocking fields of fire. As a result, approaching troops could not see the enemy bunkers until they were only about twenty feet away, by which time the Japanese had opened fire. Without armor or heavy artillery and air support, infantrymen could only crawl up to each bunker and jam hand grenades into firing slits, a process both slow and costly in casualties.

Disabled Bren gun carriers at Duropa Plantation. (DA photograph)

The Southwest Pacific Area was deeply concerned at the failure of the 32d Division's November attacks. Two weeks of offensive operations had produced 492 American casualties, and the enemy still held its positions. Staff officers wondered how much longer the underfed and diseased troops could keep fighting the Japanese and the climate of New Guinea. The international alliance that SWPA represented also showed strain, as Australians and Americans traded disparaging comments on their respective fighting abilities.

Changes were called for, and General MacArthur set them in motion. Summoning General Eichelberger, he bluntly told the corps commander, "Take Buna or don't come back alive!" Eichelberger immediately went forward to see conditions for himself. The enemy in front of the 32d Division now held a pocket stretching some four miles from Buna Village on the left to Duropa Plantation on the right. The fighting concentrated at two points along the enemy line, Urbana front on the extreme left and Warren front on the extreme right. Observing Urbana front on 2 December, Eichelberger found that the troops were exhausted, starved, feverish, and in tatters. Even worse, they had lost spirit, with some beginning to believe that the Japanese in their heavily timbered bunkers were unbeatable. Too many troops sat in rear-echelon aid stations on "rest" status. Although the I Corps commander considered the American troops still able to mount attacks, he saw much evidence that seemed to confirm the rumor he had heard in Port Moresby: that the 32d Division was near the breaking point.

Japanese Bunker in the Duropa Plantation. Cpl. Charles Claridge of Reedsburg, Wisconsin, is looking at the entrance

Eichelberger neither hesitated nor let personal feelings stand in his way. He immediately relieved General Harding, an old friend from the West Point class of 1909, as well as the commanders of both the Urbana and the Warren fronts. Preparations for the next round of attacks then went forward with several reasons for optimism. After more than a month of operating under combat conditions, the supply situation had improved noticeably. The troops had more food and some time to rest, and as a result their morale rose. The combat support situation, too, had improved. Eichelberger could expect more bombing sorties from Fifth Air Force and more artillery preparation. Best of all, the Americans could attack behind a spearhead of five Bren gun carriers, tracked vehicles with machine guns that might at last give the infantry an effective weapon against the nearly impregnable enemy bunkers.

The attack began in both the Australian and American sectors on 5 December. It soon developed into another Allied disaster. Within twenty minutes all the Bren gun carriers had been knocked out, and attacking infantry stalled all along the line. Now Eichelberger had experienced for himself the Japanese tenacity in defense. He ordered the troops on the Warren front to maintain positions and conduct local patrols, but the Urbana front remained very active. Showing the persistence necessary to match that of the Japanese, the 2d Battalion of the 126th mounted twelve attacks against enemy bunkers during 8-11 December, but it could not break through. For the first time, however, the Americans had a fresh reserve to draw on. With the recent arrival of the 127th Infantry, the 32d Division finally had its full complement of three infantry regiments. The 3d Battalion of the 127th now took over on the Urbana front.

Interior of a Japanese Bunker in the Duropa Plantation.
Note the sand-filled oil drums used to reinforce the palm-log structure.

In the Australian sector, the 7th Infantry Division kept up the pressure, assisted by Americans from the 126th Infantry who were showing commendable tenacity themselves in holding a roadblock before Sanananda against repeated Japanese attacks. On 9 December the 7th built up enough momentum to push through the enemy defenses and take Gona Village, the western anchor of the Japanese perimeter. The Australians had given the Allies their first major victory since Milne Bay in early September. Good news soon followed from the Urbana front. On 14 December the U.S. 3d Battalion overran Buna Village, pushing the remaining enemy into Buna Mission.

After the failure of the 5 December attack, Eichelberger decided that to have any chance of success he would have to change tactics. Fortunately the supply establishment at Port Moresby supported his determination: the tanks Harding had requested in November were finally on the way forward. They would spearhead the attack over the drier terrain of Warren front. With the new tanks came two fresh Australian battalions to reinforce the U.S. 128th Infantry. Australian Brigadier George F. Wootten would command the next series of Warren front attacks.

Anticipating Allied attacks, the Japanese conducted resupply missions by sea at night. Despite the best efforts of the Fifth Air Force, the enemy managed to put ashore during December about 1,300 fresh troops with supplies at several points west of Gona. These troops then made their way at night to Sanananda and Buna Mission.

Firing Pits and Bunker Entrances, Buna Mission.

The attack from Warren front began early on 18 December. Following a ten-minute air and artillery preparation, Wootten sent his new combined arms team ahead. The tanks immediately proved their worth by allowing infantrymen to get inside the enemy perimeter where, by enveloping successive bunkers, they overcame the opposition. The Allies had finally evolved the tactic to defeat Japanese bunker complexes. Over the next ten days the Warren force swept westward along the coast and reclaimed two airfields.

On the Urbana front, where the terrain did not support tanks, the fighting remained a desperate tree-by-tree, bunker-by-bunker struggle. Extremes of heroism were called for, and the troops responded. On the day before Christmas, Company I, 127th Infantry, had just cleaned out an enemy bunker only to be pinned down by a supporting strongpoint nearby. When 1st Sgt. Elmer J. Burr saw a hand grenade land next to his company commander, he immediately threw himself on it and absorbed the explosion with his own body. For his heroism Sergeant Burr received the first Medal of Honor awarded in the campaign. Later the same day Sgt. Kenneth E. Gruennert of Company L, 127th Infantry, volunteered to knock out two enemy bunkers that were holding up his company's advance. Crawling forward alone, he killed all the enemy in the first bunker by throwing grenades through the firing slits. Although severely wounded, Gruennert bandaged himself and set out against the second bunker. Throwing his grenades with great precision, the sergeant routed the enemy from their position. But before he could call his comrades forward, he was mortally wounded by snipers. For eliminating these two bunkers Sergeant Gruennert received the second Medal of Honor of the campaign.

By 28 December the Warren force closed with the Urbana force and accomplished a complete envelopment of the enemy. In coordinated attacks from 31 December to 2 January, the two forces met and flushed the Japanese from the jungle. As the Japanese swam toward remaining enemy enclaves to the west, machine guns fired on them from the beach, and aircraft came in for strafing runs.

Native Stretcher Bearers with Wounded American.
On the trail from the Buna Front to Simemi.

Now only Sanananda remained in Japanese hands. This lone enemy bastion consisted of one prepared position on the coast and several pockets of troops who had retreated from Gona and Buna. Units participating in the final offensive were now augmented by the U.S. 163d Infantry, the first regiment of the 41st Division to see action in the Pacific. Over the next twenty days the Allies overcame Japanese resistance with repeated artillery barrages, tank assaults, and infantry envelopments. The only slowdown in the Allied advance occurred when the enemy knocked out three tanks with special ammunition—ammunition that intelligence officers had reported as totally expended. The poor state of the enemy contributed as much to their defeat as did the Allies' gradually improving tactics. Without resupply for weeks, Japanese troops had only a few cartridges per man, and their rice ration ran out during the second week of January. When Allied troops broke through the last enemy defense line, they found evidence of cannibalism. Japanese resistance at Sanananda came to an end on 22 January, six months to the day after the Papua Campaign began.

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2 posted on 11/30/2003 12:01:35 AM PST by SAMWolf (Dyslexics of the world untie!)
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The United States Army learned much from the Papua Campaign but at a high cost. Allied losses totaled 8,546 killed and wounded. Of those, the 32d Division lost 687 killed in action and 2,161 wounded or lost from other causes. The lack of leaders experienced in jungle fighting accounted in part for these losses. Because the campaign was the Army's first in a world war tropical theater, everyone involved had to learn while under fire. The last combat experience of the Allied leaders had ended in 1918. The Australians had spent recent years in the Middle East. Only General MacArthur, with years of duty in the Philippines, brought to the campaign any familiarity with jungle fighting, but as theater commander he exercised leadership far from the front. The necessarily trial-and-error tactical approach of the Allies in the early stages of the campaign inevitably delayed the victory.

Supplies for Headquarters.
Native carriers and guards on the trail from Oro Bay to the Buna Front.

The campaign also made serious training deficiencies obvious. The beginning of the campaign revealed that the American troops were insufficiently hardened for extended forced marches, poorly schooled in the techniques of night patrolling and assaulting fortified positions, and unprepared for operations in a tropical environment. Too much had to be learned by experimentation, such as how to read terrain to avoid swamps or how to identify locations of enemy bunkers and fields of fire. In future campaigns American troops would have to complete arduous marches like that over the Owen Stanley Mountains and still be able to mount assaults or turn back enemy counterattacks. Some of the deficiencies in training could be laid to the radical changes in deployment plans experienced by the 32d Division. After its training on the east coast had been interrupted by orders to board ship for the British Isles, the division was turned around and sent cross-country to the west coast to embark for the Southwest Pacific. In Australia the division again started a training schedule, only to see it too interrupted when the Japanese advanced toward Port Moresby. Although SWPA staff officers considered the 32d Division not yet ready for combat, they rushed the unit to New Guinea. For the 32d Division there had been too much time spent in transit and not enough in actual training.

Combat support in nearly all facets fell short of needs during much of the campaign. Military intelligence, the basis of all operational planning, failed to provide a true understanding of the enemy on New Guinea. In two notable failures, SWPA underestimated the Japanese determination to take Port Moresby and, later, the number of enemy troops at Buna. These two errors led to the unrealistic expectation that the campaign could be completed by 1 December. Also, for too long MacArthur believed better leadership could overcome any obstacle presented by enemy or terrain.

American Light Tanks Manned by Australians.
A tank stalled in the mud is being hauled out. Duropa Plantation, 21 December.

Another glaring lack was operational fires to support attacking infantry. Ground officers argued long and loud against the prevailing SWPA attitude on artillery support, an attitude summarized by General Kenney when he said, "The artillery in this theater flies." The result of this bias in favor of air power was a chronic shortage of on-call artillery fire that made the work of attacking infantry units much more difficult. During the failed November attacks, the 32d Division on the Warren front had only eight Australian 25-pounders and two 3.7-inch mountain howitzers in addition to the 60-mm. and 81-mm. mortars normally carried by battalions, and on the Urbana front it had only four 25-pounders in addition to the mortars. Only one 105-mm. howitzer was used during the entire campaign.

In the absence of heavier artillery, tanks would have greatly aided infantry advances in the early months of the campaign. Attacking troops badly needed a weapon to help them overcome well-prepared Japanese defensive positions, and tanks would have been the best choice. Despite the swampy terrain, tanks had shown their value in the December attacks on the Warren front. At the very least, tanks held the promise of reducing, in a matter of minutes, enemy positions that could for days hold units armed only with rifles and hand grenades. In November General Harding requested tanks he knew to be at Milne Bay, but instead he received only the ineffective Bren gun carriers. Not until late in the campaign did SWPA send tanks to the battlefronts.

Offensive Action in Buna Mission.
Men of G Company, 128th Infantry, firing into Japanese bunker.

Air support was also inadequate, and it was often poorly coordinated with ground units. Not only did aircraft bomb friendly units several times, they also on occasion missed targets entirely. The Fifth Air Force also gave a low priority to the protection of supply lines, with the result that coastal tuggers were run ashore or sunk on several occasions. At the same time, however, air squadrons performed valuable service in delivering fresh troops and supplies over the Owen Stanleys to battlefronts and in evacuating the sick and the wounded to Port Moresby. Troop airlifts allowed entire regiments to minimize the debilitating effects of mountainous terrain and tropical climate.

Naval gunfire and aircraft could have partially compensated for the lack of artillery and land-based air support, but the enemy's presence and a support mission in the Solomons reduced the availability of such support. Twice Navy ships withdrew from the southwest Pacific area in response to the Japanese fleet movements. Both of these withdrawals reflected the Navy's reluctance to expose its carriers and transports to enemy air squadrons based at Rabaul. General MacArthur opposed the withdrawals because they exposed friendly units ashore to enemy air attack and delayed ship-to-shore movement of troops and supplies. In search of more reliable air and amphibious support, MacArthur decided to organize a new unit for future campaigns: the engineer special brigade. These brigades would soon carry troops and equipment ashore, organize beaches, and construct airfields.

Buna Mission after the Battle.

The generally unreliable supply situation during the campaign seriously damaged troop morale, already threatened by the climate of New Guinea. Troops who had to carry most of their supplies on their backs, who opened tins of meat only to find it rancid, who could not drink the water all around them because they had no purification equipment, and who ran out of ammunition soon became exhausted, demoralized, hungry, and vulnerable to disease. The 32d Division's experience with illness shows how the climate became an adversary itself. Of the 10,825 men in the division, 7,125 became sick at some time, an extraordinary rate of 66 percent.

Airdrops and coastal vessels introduced more supply problems than they solved. The best solution was more airfields closer to battlefronts. When engineer special brigades became available for future campaigns, aircraft could bring fresh supplies to engaged units even if the battle raged only a few hundred yards ahead. Resupply pauses after assaults could be much reduced, allowing attacking infantry to maintain pressure on the enemy.

The Papua Campaign made clear that U.S. Army units committed to combat in the summer of 1942 were insufficiently trained, equipped, led, and supported in comparison to an enemy that had been fighting for five years. Under the imperative of combat, new leaders had emerged, and new battle tactics and support techniques had been developed. But the Army would not have long to wait or far to go before testing its new leaders, tactics, and techniques. The Japanese had been defeated at the eastern end of Papua, but they had not abandoned New Guinea. Sizable Japanese forces remained at several points west of Buna, and reinforcements and supplies were still coming in from Rabaul. The next battle was only days away.

3 posted on 11/30/2003 12:02:01 AM PST by SAMWolf (Dyslexics of the world untie!)
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To: All

Veterans for Constitution Restoration is a non-profit, non-partisan educational and grassroots activist organization. The primary area of concern to all VetsCoR members is that our national and local educational systems fall short in teaching students and all American citizens the history and underlying principles on which our Constitutional republic-based system of self-government was founded. VetsCoR members are also very concerned that the Federal government long ago over-stepped its limited authority as clearly specified in the United States Constitution, as well as the Founding Fathers' supporting letters, essays, and other public documents.

Tribute to a Generation - The memorial will be dedicated on Saturday, May 29, 2004.

Actively seeking volunteers to provide this valuable service to Veterans and their families.

4 posted on 11/30/2003 12:02:30 AM PST by SAMWolf (Dyslexics of the world untie!)
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To: carton253; Matthew Paul; mark502inf; Skylight; The Mayor; Prof Engineer; PsyOp; Samwise; ...

FALL IN to the FReeper Foxhole!

Good Sunday Morning Everyone

If you would like added to our ping list let us know.

5 posted on 11/30/2003 3:57:57 AM PST by snippy_about_it (Fall in --> The FReeper Foxhole. America's History. America's Soul.)
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To: snippy_about_it
Good morning, Snippy and everyone lese at the Freeper Foxhole. Forecast high in the upper 60's today.
6 posted on 11/30/2003 4:04:04 AM PST by E.G.C.
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To: SAMWolf
Good morning SAM.

The detail of our early jungle fighting had me shaking my head. Of course hind sight is 20/20. Seems there were so many errors. I wonder what ever happened to the intellegence group there that seemed to always be wrong.

Those poor fellows that took that long trek only to find out the next group flew in! The terrain, the leeches, the disease and lack of supply, it's easy to see how morale could break, it's well described here.

Finding out the Japanese resorted to cannabalism let's one know the mind of the enemy better. We got tired and died instead.

Reading about these young men that we lost makes for a sad but necessary read. On the bright side, what we learned hopefully saved lives in future jungle battles.

Thanks SAM.

Your tagline brightens my mood! LOL.

7 posted on 11/30/2003 5:07:39 AM PST by snippy_about_it (Fall in --> The FReeper Foxhole. America's History. America's Soul.)
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To: E.G.C.
Good morning EGC. Mid forties here so that's a warm up for us!
8 posted on 11/30/2003 5:09:32 AM PST by snippy_about_it (Fall in --> The FReeper Foxhole. America's History. America's Soul.)
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To: snippy_about_it
O My Father, if this cup cannot pass away from Me unless I drink it, Your will be done. —Matthew 26:42

I know not by what methods rare,
But this I know—God answers prayer;
I leave my prayers with Him alone,
Whose will is wiser than my own. —Hickok

God's answers are wiser than our prayers.

9 posted on 11/30/2003 5:33:40 AM PST by The Mayor (Through prayer, finite man draws upon the power of the infinite God.)
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To: The Mayor
Good morning Mayor.
10 posted on 11/30/2003 5:37:15 AM PST by snippy_about_it (Fall in --> The FReeper Foxhole. America's History. America's Soul.)
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To: SAMWolf
On This Day In History

Birthdates which occurred on November 30:
538 St Gregory of Tours chronicler/bishop
1466 Andrea Doria Genoese statesman/admiral
1554 Philip Sidney England, poet/statesman/soldier (Arcadia)
1667 Jonathan Swift Engl, satirist (Gulliver's Travels, A Modest Proposal)
1793 Johann Lukas Schonlein helped establish scientific medicine
1810 Oliver Fisher Winchester rifle maker (Winchester)
1817 Theodor Mommsen Germany, historian/writer (Nobel 1902)
1835 Samuel Clemens [Mark Twain], author (Tom Sawyer, Huckleberry Finn)
1863 Andres Bonifacio leader of 1896 Philippine revolt against Spain
1874 Sir Winston Churchill (C) British PM (1940-45, 1951-55, Nobel 1953)
1894 Ture Rangstrom Stockholm Sweden, composer/critic (Kronbruden)
1898 Roy (Link) Lyman NFL tackle (Chicago Bears)
1907 Jacques Barzun France, author (The House of Interlect)
1912 Gordon Parks film director/writer (Learning Tree)
1913 John K.M. McCaffery Moscow Idaho, TV host (One Minute Please)
1915 Angier Biddle Duke NYC, US Ambassador (Spain)
1915 Henry Taube chemist (Nobel 1983)
1920 Virginia Mayo St Louis MO, actress (Out of the Blue, White Heat)
1923 Efrem Zimbalist Jr actor (77 Sunset Strip, FBI, Scruples)
1924 Allan Sherman parody singer/songwriter (Hello Muddah, Hello Faddah)
1924 Shirley Chisholm (D-Rep-NY), 1st black congresswoman/presidential candidate
1926 Richard Crenna Los Angeles CA, actor (Rambo, Summer Rental, Sand Pebbles)
1927 Robert Guillaume St Louis MO, actor (Benson, Soap)
1928 Chic Hecht (Sen-R-NV)
1928 Rex Reason Berlin Germany, actor (This Island Earth)
1929 Joan Ganz Cooney Phoenix AZ, TV exec (Children's TV Workshop)
1930 G Gordon Liddy Watergate felon, radio talk-show host
1931 Gunther Herbig Usti-nad-Labem Czech, conductor (East Berlin Orchestra)
1931 Jack Ging Alva Ok, actor (11th Hour, Ripcord, Tales of Wells Fargo)
1031 Davey Jones rocker (Monkees-Daydream Believer, Last Train To Clarksville, I'm A Believer)
1931 Jack Sheldon Jacksonville FL, actor (Run Buddy Run, Merv Griffin)
1933 Linwood C Ivey NC, (Mayor-Garysburg NC)
1936 Abbie Hoffman aka Free, Yippie/activist/author (Steal this Book)
1937 Paul Stookey Baltimore MD, singer (Peter, Paul & Mary-Wedding Song)
1937 Richard Threlkeld newscaster (ABC-TV)
1939 Walter Weller Vienna Austria, conductor (Vienna Tonkusteler Orchestra)
1947 David Mamet US playwright/director (Speed the Plow, House of Games)
1949 Arthur Lee Washington Jr one of FBI's most wanted
1950 Kathryn Witt Miami FL, actress (Pam-Flying High, Lenny)
1950 Margaret Whitton Philadelphia PA, actress (Barbara-Hometown, Major League)
1950 Paul Westphal NBA guard (Boston Celtics, Phoenix Suns)
1951 Dian Parkinson TV model (Price is Right)
1952 Mandy Patinkin actor/singer (Yentl, Alien Nation)
1953 Shuggie (Johnny) Otis, Jr. (musician)
1954 June Pointer singer (Pointer Sisters-I'm So excited)
1955 Billy Idol [William Broad], rocker (White Wedding)
1959 Sylvia Hanika Munich West Germany, tennis player (Avon-1982)
1962 Bo Jackson baseball/football player (Kansas City Royals, Los Angeles Raiders)
1969 Carrie Jean Yazel Huntington Beach CA, playmate (May, 1991)

Deaths which occurred on November 30:
30 -BC- Cleopatra Egyptian queen commits suicide(made an asp of herself)
1016 Edmund II Ironsides, King of the Saxons (1016), dies at 27
1631 Rabbi Samuel Eliezer ben Judah ha-levi Edels dies
1694 Marcello Malpighi father of microscopic anatomy, dies
1900 Oscar Wilde Irish author, dies in Paris
1964 Don Redman orchestra leader (Sugar Hill Times), dies at 64
1973 Bruce Yarnell Los Angeles CA, actor (Outlaws), dies at 35
1979 Zeppo Marx dies at 78
1981 Robert H Harris actor (Jake-The Goldbergs), dies at 72
1987 Arthur H Dean lawyer/advisor to FDR, dies at 89
1990 Norman Cousins editor (Saturday Review), dies at 75
1996 Tiny Tim singer with the falsetto warble and ukulele ("Tiptoe Through the Tulips" ), dies at 64


[REMAINS RETURNED 7-31-89 ID 2/08/90]
[REMAINS RETURNED 3/08/89 ID 2/08/90]
[REMAINS RETURNED 3/08/89 ID 2/08/90]
[REMAINS RETURNED 3/08/89 ID 2/08/90]
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[REMAINS RETURNED 3/08/89 ID 2/08/90]

POW / MIA Data & Bios supplied by
the P.O.W. NETWORK. Skidmore, MO. USA.

On this day...
306 St Marcellus I begins his reign as Catholic Pope
1523 Amsterdam bans assembly of heretics
1554 England reconciles with Pope Julius III
1630 16,000 inhabitants of Venice die this month of plague
1648 English army captures King Charles I
1678 Roman Catholics banned from English parliament
1782 Britain signs agreement recognizing US independence
1803 Spain cedes her claims to Louisiana Territory to France
1804 Impeachment trial of Supreme Court Justice Samuel Chase begins
1864 Battle of Franklin, Tennessee
1866 Work begins on 1st US underwater highway tunnel, Chicago
1885 The opera "Le Cid" is produced (Paris)
1886 1st commercially successful AC electric power plant opens, Buffalo
1887 1st indoor softball game (Chicago)
1906 President Theodore Roosevelt publicly denounces segregation of Japanese schoolchildren in San Francisco
1907 Pike Place Market dedicated in Seattle
1924 1st photo facsimile transmitted across Atlantic by radio
1936 London's Crystal Palace (built 1851), destroyed by fire
1939 USSR invades Finland over a border dispute
1940 1st game of only 2-game Grey Cup (Ottawa 8, Toronto Balmy Beach 2)
1941 101 year old Nyack-Tarrytown (NY) ferry makes its last run
1947 Day after UN decree for Israel, Jewish settlements attacked
1948 Baseball's Negro National League disbands
1948 Soviets set up a separate municipal government in East Berlin
1949 Chinese Communists captured Chungking
1954 1st meteorite ( 8 lb ) known to strike a woman (Liz Hodges-Sylacauga AL)
1958 1st guided missile destroyer launched, Dewey, Bath, Me
1959 Joe Foss named 1st commissioner of AFL
1961 USSR vetoes Kuwait's application for UN membership
1962 U Thant of Burma elected 3rd Secretary-General of UN unanimously
1964 USSR launches Zond 2 towards Mars; no data returned
1966 Barbados gains independence from Britain (National Day)
1966 Radio time signal WWV moves from Greenbelt, MD to Boulder, CO
1967 Julie Nixon & David Eisenhower announce their engagement
1967 Kuria Muria islands ceded by Britain to Oman
1967 People's Rep of South Yemen (Aden) gains independence from Britain
1970 George Harrison releases his triple album set "All Things Must Pass"
1972 BBC bans Wings "Hi, Hi, Hi"
1972 Illegal fireworks factory explodes killing 15 (Rome Italy)
1974 20th time Islanders shut-out (3-0 vs Canucks)
1975 Dahomey becomes Benin
1979 Ted Koppel becomes anchor of nightly news on Iranian Hostages (ABC)
1981 Porn star John Holmes arrested on fugitive charges
1982 STS-6 vehicle moves to launch pad
1982 US sub Thomas Edison collides with US Navy destroyer in So China Sea
1983 Denver Nugget coach Doug Moe, hopelessly behind, advise team to let Blazers break their scoring record
1983 Radio Shack announces the Tandy Model 2000 computer (80186 chip)
1988 Cyclone lashes Bangladesh, Eastern India; 317 killed
1988 NYC furrier sues Mike Tyson for $92,000 for non payment of purchase
1988 Soviets stop jamming Radio Liberty; 1st time in 38 years
1988 UN General Assembly (151-2) censures US for refusing PLO's Arafat visa
1990 Bush proposes US-Iraq meeting to avoid war
1991 93 cars & 11 truck accident near San Francisco during a dust storm, 17 die
1991 Rob Pilatus, 27, of Milli-Vanilli attempts suicide
1996 Some 150,000 people filled the streets of Belgrade to protest Serbian President Slobodan Milosevic.
1999 The opening of a 135-nation trade gathering in Seattle was disrupted by at least 40,000 demonstrators, some of whom clashed with police.
2000 Al Gore's lawyers battled for his political survival in the Florida and U.S. supreme courts; meanwhile, GOP lawmakers in Tallahassee moved to award the presidency to George W. Bush in case the courts did not by appointing their own slate of electors.

Note: Some Holidays are only applicable on a given "day of the week"

Barbados : Independence Day (1966)
Benin : National Day
Iran : Qadir Khom Festival
Philippines : Bonifacio Day/Heroes' Day (1863)
Upper Volta : Youth Day.
Yemen PDR : Independence Day (1967)
US : Travelers With Disabilities Awareness Week Begins
US : Stay Home Because You're Well Day
International Creative Child & Adult Month

Religious Observances
Christian : Advent-start of church year (4 Sundays till Christmas)
Protestant : Bible Sunday
RC, Luth, Ang-NZ : Feast of St Andrews Day, patron of Scotland

Religious History
1215 The Fourth Lateran Council closed, under Innocent III. It was this council that made first official use of the term "transubstantiation," with reference to the Eucharist (Lord's Supper).
1530 German reformer Martin Luther remarked: 'Whenever I happen to be prevented by the press of duties from observing my hour of prayer, the entire day is bad for me.'
1554 Roman Catholicism was (briefly) restored to England, under the reign of Mary Tudor, the daughter of Henry VIII and Catherine of Aragon. In the process, "Bloody Mary" had Thomas Cranmer, Hugh Latimer, Nicholas Ridley and nearly 300 other Protestant leaders burned at the stake.
1729 Birth of Samuel Seabury, first bishop of the American Protestant Episcopal Church. (Following the American Revolution, Seabury helped formulate the constitution which made the American Protestant Episcopal Church independent and autonomous from the Church of England.)
1894 In Naperville, Illinois, seven groups of the Evangelical Association withdrew from the organization to form the United Evangelical Church. (In 1922 the two denominations reunited.)

Source: William D. Blake. ALMANAC OF THE CHRISTIAN CHURCH. Minneapolis: Bethany House, 1987.

Thought for the day :
"Faith is putting all your eggs in God's basket, then counting your blessings before they hatch."

Question of the day...
What was the best thing before sliced bread?

Murphys law of the day...
Nature always sides with the hidden flaw.

Little known fact #981...
Seoul, the South Korean capital, just means "the capital" in the Korean language.
11 posted on 11/30/2003 5:38:13 AM PST by Valin (We make a living by what we get, we make a life by what we give.)
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To: snippy_about_it; SAMWolf; radu; All

Good morning everyone in the FOXHOLE!

12 posted on 11/30/2003 6:47:45 AM PST by Soaring Feather
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To: Valin
made an asp of herself


Good morning Valin.

13 posted on 11/30/2003 8:24:47 AM PST by snippy_about_it (Fall in --> The FReeper Foxhole. America's History. America's Soul.)
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To: bentfeather
Good morning feather.
14 posted on 11/30/2003 8:28:32 AM PST by snippy_about_it (Fall in --> The FReeper Foxhole. America's History. America's Soul.)
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To: snippy_about_it
Good Morning Snippy.
15 posted on 11/30/2003 8:45:46 AM PST by SAMWolf (Dyslexics of the world untie!)
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To: E.G.C.
Morning E.G.C.

We have clear blue skies (So far) and it's relatively nice out.
16 posted on 11/30/2003 8:46:39 AM PST by SAMWolf (Dyslexics of the world untie!)
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To: The Mayor
Hi Mayor. The coffee is perfect for sipping as I watch the birds this morning.
17 posted on 11/30/2003 8:48:19 AM PST by SAMWolf (Dyslexics of the world untie!)
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To: SAMWolf; snippy_about_it
It's just afternoon here and the coffee is still good.

Just got home from Church time for brunch..
18 posted on 11/30/2003 8:55:23 AM PST by The Mayor (Through prayer, finite man draws upon the power of the infinite God.)
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To: Valin
1939 USSR invades Finland over a border dispute

The Winter War erupted on 30 November 1939, when Stalin unleashed his Red Army in an all-out assault against Finland. In August that year Stalin and Hitler had divided eastern Europe between them in the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact, leaving Finland isolated in the Soviet sphere of influence. During the fall Stalin demanded that Finland cede key parts of the country to the USSR. When Finland refused to meet all his demands Stalin unleashed his armies.

In the winter dawn of 30 November four Soviet Armies with 23 divisions - some 460,000 men with over 2,000 tanks - began advancing across the length of Finland's 1,200 km long eastern border. Their objective was to occupy the entire territory of Finland by the end of the year, installing Moscow's puppet 'Terijoki Government' in Helsinki, and establishing a new 'Democratic Republic of Finland'. Their troops were issued with detailed written warnings not to cross into Sweden once they had reached Finland's western border, and the 7. Army included a military band for the victory parade in Helsinki.

On December 3, 1939, three days after the Red Army’s unprovoked attack on Finland, the newly appointed foreign minister, Väinö Tanner, spoke to American radio listeners in a live broadcast from Helsinki.

Few at the time expected the tiny Finnish nation of 3.6 million to survive. But despite the odds Finland reacted with desperate determination. On the one hand the country was determined to fight, and the full field army of some 160,000 men had been mobilized and sent eastwards into position along the front during the fall. On the other hand Finland also was grimly prepared for the worst, and began sending her national treasure - her children - to safety in Sweden, to cover the possibility of a Soviet victory and Stalin's national extermination programmes. Leaving at night from blacked out harbours along Finland's western coast, in the gaps between wailing sirens warning of Soviet bombers, none of the thousands of departing children or their parents remaining behind knew whether they would see each other again.

Four months later, after the hardest fighting seen in Europe since the first World War and massive Soviet reinforcements, Finland's lines remained unbroken, while the Red Army had lost up to 400.000 soldiers in casualties. Finland's soldiers were now down to their last bullets, but Stalin did not know that, and he was running out of time. With the spring thaws approaching, his forces risked becoming bogged down in the extensive wetland forests along the front, while politically every week lost increased his humiliation and vulnerability vis a vis a vengeful Japan in the Far East, an ambitious Hitler in the west, and a Britain and France that were considering intervention on Finland's side.

In early March Stalin conceded defeat, abandoning his occupation plans and settling for a compromise agreement, leaving Finland independent. With the signing of the Peace Agreement on 13 March Finland had to cede 10 % of her territory to the USSR, but Finland herself remained free.

The Winter War is one of the milestones in the history of independent Finland, and the conclusions subsequently drawn by Finland's political leaders, along with the lessons of the Continuation War with Russia between 1941 - 1944, became the foundation for Finland's security policy during the Cold War.

19 posted on 11/30/2003 8:58:38 AM PST by SAMWolf (Dyslexics of the world untie!)
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To: bentfeather
Good Morning Feather.

20 posted on 11/30/2003 9:00:09 AM PST by SAMWolf (Dyslexics of the world untie!)
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To: The Mayor
I can't remember the last time I went to brunch. Camp 18 has a heck of a spread, I'll have to make time and get out there again.
21 posted on 11/30/2003 9:01:34 AM PST by SAMWolf (Dyslexics of the world untie!)
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To: SAMWolf
Oh my goodness Sam, what a wonderful redfeather!

I love it! Thank you so much.
22 posted on 11/30/2003 9:19:33 AM PST by Soaring Feather
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To: bentfeather
You're welcome.
23 posted on 11/30/2003 9:23:01 AM PST by SAMWolf (Dyslexics of the world untie!)
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To: snippy_about_it
24 posted on 11/30/2003 9:26:32 AM PST by manna
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To: SAMWolf
Camp 18 has a heck of a spread, I'll have to make time and get out there again.

I'll join you!

25 posted on 11/30/2003 9:34:22 AM PST by snippy_about_it (Fall in --> The FReeper Foxhole. America's History. America's Soul.)
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To: manna
Good afternoon manna!
26 posted on 11/30/2003 9:34:47 AM PST by snippy_about_it (Fall in --> The FReeper Foxhole. America's History. America's Soul.)
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To: manna
Hi Manna!

27 posted on 11/30/2003 9:57:25 AM PST by SAMWolf (Dyslexics of the world untie!)
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To: snippy_about_it
LOL! You bringing your own food?
28 posted on 11/30/2003 9:58:13 AM PST by SAMWolf (Dyslexics of the world untie!)
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To: SAMWolf
Hello, sir (and SAM)!
29 posted on 11/30/2003 10:03:02 AM PST by manna
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To: SAMWolf
LOL! You bringing your own food?

Geez you're tough! If that's a requirement, sure, White Castles.

30 posted on 11/30/2003 10:19:34 AM PST by snippy_about_it (Fall in --> The FReeper Foxhole. America's History. America's Soul.)
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To: snippy_about_it
Sacks and sacks of them. Jalepeno ones too. :-)
31 posted on 11/30/2003 11:46:43 AM PST by SAMWolf (Dyslexics of the world untie!)
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To: SAMWolf; snippy_about_it; SpookBrat; AntiJen; MistyCA; PhilDragoo; All
Happy Sunday all!

How about a nice apple...

32 posted on 11/30/2003 11:49:36 AM PST by Victoria Delsoul (I love the smell of winning, the taste of victory, and the joy of each glorious triumph)
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To: SAMWolf
As you wish.
33 posted on 11/30/2003 11:52:10 AM PST by snippy_about_it (Fall in --> The FReeper Foxhole. America's History. America's Soul.)
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To: Victoria Delsoul
Good Afternoon Victoria. A New York Apple?
34 posted on 11/30/2003 11:52:29 AM PST by SAMWolf (Dyslexics of the world untie!)
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To: Victoria Delsoul
Good afternoon Victoria. Hope you're doing swell!
35 posted on 11/30/2003 11:52:51 AM PST by snippy_about_it (Fall in --> The FReeper Foxhole. America's History. America's Soul.)
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To: SAMWolf
Good afternoon to all at the Foxhole!

Hello troops and veterans!
THANK YOU for serving the USA!

36 posted on 11/30/2003 2:05:47 PM PST by radu (May God watch over our troops and keep them safe)
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To: radu
Hi Radu. Thanks for dropping by.
37 posted on 11/30/2003 2:52:27 PM PST by SAMWolf (Dyslexics of the world untie!)
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To: radu
Good evening radu!
38 posted on 11/30/2003 3:04:34 PM PST by snippy_about_it (Fall in --> The FReeper Foxhole. America's History. America's Soul.)
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To: SAMWolf
Waterlogged ground, malarial swamps, and a miscalc of teh amount of enemy faced..
39 posted on 11/30/2003 5:07:38 PM PST by Darksheare (Even as we speak, my 100,000 killer wombat army marches forth)
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To: radu
40 posted on 11/30/2003 5:10:02 PM PST by Darksheare (Even as we speak, my 100,000 killer wombat army marches forth)
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To: Darksheare
Sounds like Vietnam, doesn't it.
41 posted on 11/30/2003 5:40:32 PM PST by SAMWolf (Dyslexics of the world untie!)
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To: SAMWolf
From what I've been told of that nice vacation spot for leeches and bugs, yes.
42 posted on 11/30/2003 5:44:01 PM PST by Darksheare (Even as we speak, my 100,000 killer wombat army marches forth)
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To: SAMWolf; snippy_about_it; E.G.C.; Victoria Delsoul; colorado tanker; Light Speed

A captured Sanrinsha of the Imperial Japanese Navy--Papua

One of the Port Moresby airfields. B-24 bombers and
C-47 transports are parked in splinter-proof revetments.

Lae airfield on 4th January, 1943. Japanese Betty
bombers, Val dive-bombers and Zero fighters are visible.

A typical perimeter, known as "Q," which was on the west side of the road between Huggins and Fisk, is illustrated in Sketch No. 5 (above)

Sananda Point

A few days later after the capture of Buna Mission US General Berryman, 32 Division, wrote down his thoughts, and concluded; "We have air superiority and are superior in numbers, guns, mortars and tanks. The problem is to use them to the best effect in the jungle." For the AIF & AMF formations, US Army and the remaining deployable tanks of 2/6AR there was another task, the reduction of the beachhead at Sanananda, as all organised Japanese resistance east of Buna was now at an end. The Japanese command were deploying as many mixed troop formations as possible, including hospital patients, in the beachhead sector. During the Japanese defensive operations the strength of the besieged was increased by about five hundred whom Colonel Yazawa brought in, about eight hundred more fresh newcomers of the 170 Regiment and possible 200 to 300 escapers, stragglers from the Buna area and the sick, tired and wounded. Cape Killerton track junction was the most forward position defended by the remaining strength of 144 Battalion, a detachment from 41 Battalion, some of the skilled 15 Independent Engineers, a battery of mountain gunners and anti-aircraft weapons all under the commanded of Colonel Tsukamoto. In the Sanananda fortification quadrant the acting commander Colonel Yokoyama set up his HQ with the balance of the 41 Regiment, the main force of the engineers, mixed troops, service conscripts and hidden artillery pieces manned by obstinate gunners.

General Herring defined his plans to resume intensive operations against Sanananda - Cape Killerton positions with the AIF 7Division, was allotted a third formation the AMF 4th Brigade (Bde), joining the 18Bde and 30Bde, and the US 163IR. Only three Stuarts moved overland to participate in the planned smashing of a roadblock on Cape Killerton track, so by the evening of the 7 January they arrived at the bivouac area about three miles south of Supota and with a fourth tank soon to arrive at Popondetta. The rest of the AFV’s were weather bound at Cape Endaiadere by incessant rains and were to move as soon as possible. The same rains prevented planned artillery placement of 25pdrs and 4.5inch guns belonging to the artillery mettle of the 2/5 and 2/1FldRgts. The Australians, with a company from the 2/10Btn to strengthen the attack onto the road from the east, and at the same time limiting the movement of the Stuarts to the track, the 2/12Btn would drive down the artery. The track ahead was a confined defile and the track so narrow there seemed no hope of turning and the only way for the Stuarts was straight on, the tank crews had also been told that there were no anti-tank guns to hinder their advance. On 12 January 1943 in the morning mist through the thick jungle and soggy ground two attacking companies of the 2/9Btn, Lieut’s Jackson and Lloyd both killed in action during the day, started the flanking move. The day started to go wrong from the beginning when the tanks began to cross the start line at one minute past 8am, where they were subjected to an intense Japanese reception of firepower from machine-guns, mortars and various calibre guns.

Lieut Heap led his troop of Stuarts out in line ahead receiving the clinking and clatter of fire-arms and stopped after going sixty yards, traversing his turret slowly to the left where he’d been told of a suspected bunker, a shell struck the front of the tank and ricocheted onto the drivers flap with a fiery clang stunning him. Heap glimpsed the gun flash while wielding round his own weapon to aim, a second shell hit the tank tracks, and he briskly engaged the target. A third shell hit the tank, sprung the hull gunners flap stunning him too and a fourth shell smashed through the AFV bursting inside it. Heap wounded therefore wirelessed Corporal Boughton he was getting off the track and that he was to come forward. Boughton’s tank was in turn hammered badly before it could retaliate and he was mortally wounded, but the driver, Lance-Corporal Lynn remained brave and cool while peering through the gaping hole performed the seemingly impossible feat of turning the broken vehicle about on the narrow track limping out of the fight. Undaunted Sergeant McGregor next closed in, he was not long engaging the enemy, was struck many times by a Japanese ballistic barrage and had halted then flames exploded around his Stuart, probably by a explosive charge pushed beneath it on the end of a forked stick.

The Australian commanders were bitterly disappointed at the apparent failure of this misfortune stamped day. Maj-General Vasey, commander of the AIF 7Division, himself had decided, "To attack these (entrenched Japanese defensive positions) with infantry using their own weapons is repeating the costly mistake of 1915-17 and, in view of the limited resources which can be, at present, put into the field in this area, such attacks seem unlikely to succeed." In the meantime two Stuarts had arrived on the 15 January from Cape Endaiadere, and Lieut McCrohon in command of the tanks was sent forward to liaison with the Americans later that afternoon and to reconnoitre the area of operations. It was at once clear to him that no tanks could outflank through the morass of bog and swamp along this part of the track. American Army Colonel Doe’s newly arrived 163IR, gaining operating experience behind the enemy roadblock, was ordered to clear the track of remaining Japanese soldiers between objectives Huggins and James, harass the line of communications and block the road leading to Sanananda as well. Thus without tanks the American battalions in the immediate wake of fifteen minutes of intense heavy artillery and 81mm mortar bombardment took all day to complete the reduction of the enemy pocket defended to the last by feeble Japanese in this sector and opening the path to the enemies coastal fortress. Back at Rabual General Adachi was most anxious about the worsening plight of his determined forces gripping the Papuan coast. The Japanese had been ordered to withdraw all of its fit men back to the coastal garrison for eventual evacuation through the nights ahead, or by going bush through the dark green jungle escaping the net AMF 14Bde cast for them and leaving only the starving invalids to defend the beachheads to the last.

Bren Gun Carrier has top down signifying "elected to receive"

M-5A1 Stuart Light Tank
Photo: Courtesy of Frank Robertson.

This early M3 Stuart features a riveted turret and hexagonal commander's cupola. This vehicle is powered by a gasoline engine, as evidenced by the pipes from the air cleaners going immediately into the rear deck. The driver's and assistant driver's doors are open, and it is evident that the assistant driver would have a very tough time exiting the vehicle under duress, since the bow machine gun takes the place of a second door in the hull. The driver could open a door in the front hull plate as well as the door with his vision devices, but the assistant driver must exit through the turret. This tank has not been fitted with machine guns. (Picture taken 18 Dec 1941; available from the 9th Engineer Battalion homepage.)

M3 & M5 Stuart Light Tank

The President of the United States
in the name of The Congress
takes pleasure in presenting the

Medal of Honor



Rank and organization: First Sergeant, U.S. Army, Company 1, 127th Infantry, 32d Infantry Division. Place and date: Buna, New Guinea, 24 December 1942. Entered service at: Menasha, Wis. Birth: Neenah, Wis. G.O. No.: 66, 11 Oct. 1943.


For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity in action above and beyond the call of duty. During an attack near Buna, New Guinea, on 24 December 1942, 1st Sgt. Burr saw an enemy grenade strike near his company commander. Instantly and with heroic self-sacrifice he threw himself upon it, smothering the explosion with his body. 1st Sgt. Burr thus gave his life in saving that of his commander.

The President of the United States
in the name of The Congress
takes pleasure in presenting the
Medal of Honor


Rank and organization: Sergeant, U.S. Army, Company L, 127th Infantry, 32d Infantry Division. Place and date: Near Buna, New Guinea, 24 December 1942. Entered service at: Helenville, Wis. Birth: Helenville, Wis. G.O. No: 66, 11 October 1943.


For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity in action above and beyond the call of duty. On 24 December 1942, near Buna, New Guinea, Sgt. Gruennert was second in command of a platoon with a mission to drive through the enemy lines to the beach 600 yards ahead. Within 150 yards of the objective, the platoon encountered 2 hostile pillboxes. Sgt. Gruennert advanced alone on the first and put it out of action with hand grenades and rifle fire, killing 3 of the enemy. Seriously wounded in the shoulder, he bandaged his wound under cover of the pillbox, refusing to withdraw to the aid station and leave his men. He then, with undiminished daring, and under extremely heavy fire, attacked the second pillbox. As he neared it he threw grenades which forced the enemy out where they were easy targets for his platoon. Before the leading elements of his platoon could reach him he was shot by enemy snipers. His inspiring valor cleared the way for his platoon which was the first to attain the beach in this successful effort to split the enemy position.


Forward Bunker observer squawks coordinates

Captain Napalm responds with the smell of victory

43 posted on 11/30/2003 6:18:32 PM PST by PhilDragoo (Hitlery: das Butch von Buchenvald)
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To: snippy_about_it; SAMWolf
The important thing here is that the New Guinea campaign was happening at the same time as Guadalcanal. Japanese reports (from after the war) made it very clear that the Japanese could not discern the Allied center of gravity, that is, the Japanese could not decide whether Guadalcanal or New Guinea was the most important problem that they faced.

The Japanese kept changing their minds on where to concentrate, shifting forces from one to the other, frittering away time they could not afford, and wasting troops on piecemeal attacks.

The little evidence I have indicates that MacArthur is responsible for this Japanese dilemma. The extreme hazard and suffering our people (very definately including the Australians!!!!!) faced, the disease, hopelessness, and death, the improper equipment, terrible supply, lack of artillery, and the very extraordinarily hard working and tough Japanese infantry, had to be dealt with by National Guard troops - the 32nd was a Guard outfit from right around where I am now! Farmboys who had joined the Guard to make a little money for their families.

Make no mistake, the New Guinea - Guadalcanal campaign was neccessary. The war could easily have been lost there and then. MacArthur was in one of his brilliant phases, and did exactly what needed doing. The lads paid the price, Marine, Army, and Australian. And don't forget the Navy. As many Navy were killed during this campaign as Infantry. Actually, likely more.

The result of this right fist and left fist, Guadalcanal and New Guinea, was Japanese confusion and defeat. Those men saved us.

Knew two old 32nd Division boys, gone now, who were right in the thick of it, beginning to end. I tell the truth, they were tough and brave men.
44 posted on 11/30/2003 6:30:41 PM PST by Iris7 ("Duty, Honor, Country". The first of these is Duty, and is known only through His Grace)
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To: PhilDragoo
Thanks Phil, great aerial photos and additional information. Thanks for posting the MOH recipients as well.
45 posted on 11/30/2003 6:38:08 PM PST by snippy_about_it (Fall in --> The FReeper Foxhole. America's History. America's Soul.)
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To: PhilDragoo
Evenig Phil Dragoo.

I never figured out the usefulness of the Bren carrier. It could only carry 5 men, was opened topped and didin't rally carry and heavy armament. Seems like there were better ways to get 5 men from "here to there"

Owing to the shortage of tanks, in the newly formed 1st Australian Armoured Division (1st July 1941), a great number of Carriers were pressed into service to provide tactical training for tank crews.

An example of its limitations are best summed-up in the following account: On 23rd November 1942, General Clowes at Milne Bay, New Guinea ordered a small number of Bren Gun Carriers to Cape Endaiadere as direct support to American troops operating in this area. It was made clear to the Americans that the Carriers were too lightly armoured and the crews too exposed for them to be used as tanks. In addition, they lacked any overhead protection from sniper fire, shell splinters and were extremely vulnerable to flank attacks. Thus they were forced to work with infantry support.

The aftermath of an attack at Cape Endaiadere on 5th December, resulted in vehicle crews being roughly handled and resulted in the abandonment of five vehicles. The supporting American infantry found they could not advance any further and the attack was called off. Sadly, it proved yet again, the futility of attempting to use inappropriate vehicles as tanks'.

46 posted on 11/30/2003 6:52:47 PM PST by SAMWolf (Dyslexics of the world untie!)
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To: Iris7
Evening Iris7.

Some times it's really hard to figure out why major campaigns or battles were fought in places that seemed to hold no significance. IMHO it just comes down to "That's where the emnemy is" at times.
47 posted on 11/30/2003 6:55:20 PM PST by SAMWolf (Dyslexics of the world untie!)
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To: PhilDragoo
Captain Napalm.
48 posted on 11/30/2003 7:11:01 PM PST by Darksheare (Even as we speak, my 100,000 killer wombat army marches forth)
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To: PhilDragoo
49 posted on 12/01/2003 3:07:30 AM PST by E.G.C.
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To: Iris7
Thanks Iris7. So many mistakes but hopefully lessons learned. These guys were put through hell, God Bless them.
50 posted on 12/01/2003 6:04:20 AM PST by snippy_about_it (Fall in --> The FReeper Foxhole. America's History. America's Soul.)
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